'Time for all sectors': Ahead of deliberations, Zubiri tells Senate not to rush Maharlika fund bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31) — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri is asking colleagues not to rush discussions on the proposed Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) as the chamber gears up for its first hearing on the controversial bill.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Zubiri said he has instructed Sen. Mark Villar — whose committee on banks, financial institutions and currencies will conduct the hearings — to "give time to all sectors" concerned.

"In other words, wag nyang madaliin ito (he should not rush this)," Zubiri stressed.

"Hindi 'to pang-one hearing lamang. Hindi 'to pang-two hearings or three hearings (This should not be done for only one, two, or three hearings). So I suggested to Sen. Mark that he should conduct weekly hearings all the way [until] the break," he added.

Zubiri said Villar can craft the committee report before they go on a break by the end of March, so that lawmakers can thoroughly study it.

"He could either sponsor it before the break, or he can sponsor it when we get back after the Holy Week break, and have a full debate on the issue," he noted.

The Senate will kick off its deliberations on the MIF on Wednesday following its swift passage at the House of Representatives in December.

The measure — backed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. — aims to accrue profits from government assets to further promote development, according to administration officials.

READ: Marcos: Maharlika fund being crafted to suit current PH 

Meanwhile, the Senate president also gave updates regarding their recent meeting with economic managers.

"They assured us that the version passed in the House has the highest standards of accountability, fiscal responsibility, and good governance. Measures have been placed under that bill of the House to help safeguard the funds," Zubiri said.